Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Positive Thinking Vs. The Greenies

If you spend as much time around Greenies as I regrettably must do, you will immediately sense that they don't trust science, which is odd, because they push their scientific models and studies on us to "prove" how horrible life on earth with humans has become.

Because they don't believe in the sort of science that leads to human accomplishment, all their models assume mankind will just tilt back in the global E-Z Boy, munch some chips and lift not a finger to make things better. The reason they think this way is simple: Making things better requires engineering, R&D, manufacturing and construction -- fields that are as foreign to Greenies as Birkenstocks are to investment bankers.

But that doesn't stop the work of those who trust in technology to address and solve the fears of those who don't.

Witness the internal combustion engine. To a Greenie, it is the enemy. It burns oil, which requires drilling, a.k.a. punching holes into Mother Earth's skin. Ow! It emits greenhouse gases that float up into Mother Earth's atmosphere. It must be stopped!

But the engineers look at all this, the inefficient fuel consumption, the imperfect burning, the emissions and see not something that must be stopped, but something that must be better engineered. And it looks like they're doing just that:
Radical engine redesign would reduce pollution, oil consumption

May 11, 2007
- Researchers have created the first computational model to track engine performance from one combustion cycle to the next for a new type of engine that could dramatically reduce oil consumption and the emission of global-warming pollutants.

"We're talking about a major leap in engine technology that could be used in hybrid cars to make vehicles much more environmentally friendly and fuel stingy," said Gregory M. Shaver, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

A key portion of his research, based at Purdue's Ray W. Herrick Laboratories, hinges on designing engines so that their intake and exhaust valves are no longer driven by mechanisms connected to the pistons. The innovation would be a departure from the way automotive engines have worked since they were commercialized more than a century ago.

In today's internal combustion engines, the pistons turn a crankshaft, which is linked to a camshaft that opens and closes the valves, directing the flow of air and exhaust into and out of the cylinders. The new method would eliminate the mechanism linking the crankshaft to the camshaft, providing an independent control system for the valves.

Because the valves' timing would no longer be restricted by the pistons' movement, they could be more finely tuned to allow more efficient combustion of diesel, gasoline and alternative fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, Shaver said.

The concept, known as variable valve actuation, would enable significant improvements in conventional gasoline and diesel engines used in cars and trucks and for applications such as generators, he said. The technique also enables the introduction of an advanced method called homogeneous charge compression ignition, or HCCI, which would allow the United States to drastically reduce its dependence on foreign oil and the production of harmful exhaust emissions.

The homogeneous charge compression ignition technique would make it possible to improve the efficiency of gasoline engines by 15 percent to 20 percent, making them as efficient as diesel engines while nearly eliminating smog-generating nitrogen oxides, Shaver said.

This improved combustion efficiency also would reduce emission of two other harmful gases contained in exhaust: global-warming carbon dioxide and unburned hydrocarbons. The method allows for the more precise control of the fuel-air mixture and combustion inside each cylinder, eliminating "fuel rich" pockets seen in conventional diesel engines, resulting in little or no emission of pollutants called particulates, a common environmental drawback of diesels. ...

"Variable valve actuation and HCCI would help to significantly reduce our dependence on oil by enabling engines to work better with ethanol and biodiesel and other alternative fuels," Shaver said. ...

In HCCI, the "charge," or fuel-air mixture, is homogeneous, meaning it is uniform. Adding the reinducted exhaust both dilutes and increases the temperature of this air-fuel mixture before compression. The process also allows for a uniform "auto ignition," or combustion without the need of a spark, at a lower compression than normally required for diesel engines, reducing engine wear and tear. (Brightsurf)
Fortunately, taking concepts like these from concept to prototype to production doesn't take grassroots activism, demonstrations complete with puppets and interpretive dancers, or fawning attention from the media and the leftyblogs. It just takes a belief in humans as something greater and more capable than the rest of the residents of this planet, and a mindset that pushes and achieves instead of whines and laments.

At the Coastal Commission hearing this week (here) (here), I witnessed this close up. Opponents wanted no change, trusted no technology and thought the world was doomed. Supporters saw that the status quo could be improved, viewed technology as a useful and trustworthy tool, and looked forward to a brighter future.

It's all mindset, and the sissyfication of men and worship of Mother Earth cannot be allowed to give predominance to the mindset of failure and doom.

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